What’s that lovely aroma you smell when you are walking this Spring? Good news….It’s wild garlic season!

Wild garlic (also known as Bear Leek or Bear’s garlic, Buckrams, Ramsons or wood garlic) is native to Britain and is one of a several plant species whose presence indicates that a wood is ancient. Traditionally used in medicine, the bulb is a key ingredient in tonics for rheumatic problems and high cholesterol, which in turn helps to reduce the risk of diseases such as heart attack or stroke.

Foraging in the woods for wild garlic can be done between late March and July, look out for their bright white flowers. Pick the long leaves being careful to leave the bulb intact for next year.  If you’re not sure if it’s wild garlic, here are some guidelines from  The Woodland Trust.

Now you’ve collected your wild garlic, it’s time to do something with it! It’s is really versatile ingredient which can be used to make delicious soup and pesto.  You can use it like spinach, tossed in butter on a low heat, add to an omelette, to baked fish or make wild garlic butter to melt on your new potatoes.  The flowers are also edible, which look and taste delicious when added raw to salads.  You can also freeze it for future use.

My friend Arif’s recipe for delicious Wild Garlic Pesto  – Click here

My other friend Andrea’s recipe for wild garlic soup:

25 g butter                                                                                                                                                                              2 (roughly 275g medium potatoes, cut into 1 cm cubes                                                                                                  1 (about 150 g medium onion, chopped                                                                                                                            1 litre vegetable stock                                                                                                                                                           4 big handfuls (about 200 g) of wild garlic leaves, chopped                                                                                   100 ml double cream

Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When foaming, add the potatoes and onion, then toss until well coated. Season. Reduce the heat, cover and cook for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Then add the garlic and cook for two minutes until wilted. Immediately liquidise the soup with a handheld blender. Serve with a swirl of double cream, a few shreds of wild garlic and a few wild garlic flowers, if you have them.

We do hope you manage to find wild garlic and find some pleasure in the process – foraging is very relaxing and good for the mind and body!